September 22, 2002

One True Champion: How to have a college football national championship playoff using the Bowl Championship Series

If the university presidents, coaches, and athletic directors listened to the fans, we would have long since seen a playoff for the Division 1 college football national championship. However, thanks to them, and to the bowl committees that seem to procreate every year, we still have a set up where a true, undisputed national champ is almost always a pipe dream. Case in point: 2001. While Miami did beat Nebraska and claim the title, the question still remains whether or not they could have beaten Joey Harrington's Oregon Ducks or the surprising Colorado Buffalos. How can a team that did not even win its division in the Big 12 play for the national championship, while two teams that won their conferences and deserved the shot were shunned? While I doubt that the NCAA would ever dump the bowl system for a 16- or 24-team playoff format, there is a way to determine the NCAA champion with a BCS AND a playoff. Sound impossible? Take a look at this scenario: 1) Instead of having only one of the BCS games mean anything, have all four games serve as quarterfinals. 2) The quarterfinal winners would play the semifinals the day before the NFL's conference championships. Sites could be determined by seedings or could be neutral. 3) The national championship would be played the night before the Super Bowl in a different city from the home of the "Big Game." You could even give the lesser bowls some prestigue by having 16 BCS teams play in some of the "minor" bowl games, like in Seattle, Charlotte, Orlando, etc. You could play them the week before Christmas, and rotate them with other bowls for non-BCS team. While this idea probably will not fly, it is close to the Division 1-AA format that provides a national champion for that division. While some coaches, sportwriters, and fans claim that the almost annual national championship controversy is good for the sport of college football, it goes against the very nature of competitive sports to determine who is the best in their league. How do players feel when their fate is not in their own hands, but in the hands of sportswriters, coaches, and computers? If I were a player, I would resent not being able to win the title on the field. In the final analysis, there will not be any easy way to end the debate for a national playoff. My idea might fly, but would the NCAA want to compete for attention with the NFL? I doubt it. Would they want to abandon a bowl system that continues to grow in size and meaninglessness with every passing year? Of course not. As in all major sports both college and pro these days, it's all about the money. Until the NCAA realizes that a college playoff would be more profitable than the bowl system, we are likely never to see a bonafide, undisputed Division 1 national champion anytime soon.

posted by jasonbondshow to commentary at 01:16 PM - 0 comments

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